As smoking indoors is now considered unacceptable in vast sections of the world, the next frontier, for certain sections of the anti-smoking lobby at least, is outdoor public space. My own institution, Macquarie University, implemented a campus-wide outdoor smoking ban in 2011, hastily installed without community consultation, yet enacted with little resistance. As indemnification against litigation continues to motivate anti-smoking policy, institutional liability continues to take precedence over advocacy. While such directives are regrettable, they are not an entirely unexpected outcome of the public relations stranglehold that governs campus life these days. Yet, there persists an even more disconcerting dimension to such initiatives: this general rubric of ‘health concern’ mobilises certain private individuals to feverishly enforce anti-smoking measures on behalf of their institutions. Within this environment, the beleaguered smokers find themselves involuntarily indulged with yet another over-zealous rant, from an uninvited party that walks ten metres to deliver it. While the chastened smokers are becoming used to hostility and derision, that they should also suffer unsolicited displays of sanctimonious remonstration as well, remains a sore point. The question that must be asked is whether it is actually the business of smoking that is truly at the heart of the protestation in question?
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